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Monday 31 December 2018

A new year beckons.

Well done to all of you bargain hunters, either planned or serendipitous, and equally well done to those of you who did not "do" the sales for whatever reason.

I had to nip to the shop on the way back from dropping Francesca at the station, just to replace the things that she used from the medicine chest. She arrived with a hacking cough which had given her some considerable pain. (luckily a few days rest and being pampered along with some meds helped relieve that).

I spotted a Christmas mug, abandoned on the shelf, and carried it to the till. Reduced from £12 !!! to £3, that is now in a box and in due course will get some goodies put with it for a gift next year.

Now as the year rushes headlong to the end I find myself looking back.
It has been a helter skelter one, a new arrival, in the form of Herbie, turned my world and routines inside out and upside down. fortunately he adapted instantly to our household and settled down within moments. By the end of a couple of days he seemed to have been here for ever.

The fall that smashed my mouth was a traumatic time, I know that in comparison with many people it was insignificant. It has dragged on for so long because of the widespread breakages. There are bits of root still working their way through the gums and the gap from losing my left incisor is massive. There are issues regarding replacing it and it seems as though the cost could be equally massive. 

On the other hand the SO has had his asthma medication overhauled and (so far so good) is reaping the benefits.

Ben is still plodding along with us, although most days are very slow he does still enjoy his walks and is never late for a meal.

The grandchildren are growing like weeds and Mum and Dad are both doing well in their respective jobs.

Francesca is doing very well in her career and has a good social life away from work. She has her sights on her future and is working steadily towards it, but not at the expense of a social life. She has got the work and life balance pretty well sorted.

My cataracts are still not at the stage for removal, I wish they would hurry up, which has affected my sewing. I can no longer do so much detailed work. Luckily knitting and crochet are not affected at all.

Many people will be thinking about resolutions for next year (tomorrow, how fast it has come around) I usually have a word or phrase well before now.

Nothing has come to mind, so it may have to be "Go with the flow". My life has a natural rhythm and to try to swim against the current would be counter productive. I enjoy each day as it comes, to the best of my abilities, and that seems fine to me.

There is nothing that I long for personally, world peace and an end to hunger would be great but I have to keep it real.

Single use plastic has never been big in my life, waxed and silicone paper and foil are used when necessary. I do have plastic containers, most of which have been in use for several years. I am slowly changing to glass, I have some Kilner type storage jars (the sort that have a rubber sealing ring) and am using them more and more.

I have adopted another dog from The Dog Trust, as my gift to myself, there is a centre fairly near to me and another planned for Cardiff.

I still have 3 gifts undelivered, time and teeth got in the way. It also did not help when The tree went up and Herbie regarded it as his personal playground, which meant that if we left the house he had to come with us.

The minute that it comes down I will set off with them, it will not be long as the first lot have come down. The landing lights and banister swathe have been packed away, Francesca,s room is next.

Now it is really time for my second cuppa, so I will wish you all a smooth transition form this year to the next. May you achieve all that you would like to and all that you need to. Most of all I hope that 2019 sees you healthy and happy.

                         TTFN                              Pam


Saturday 29 December 2018

What did you save?

Did you brave the sales, queue in the wee small hours, or just arrive at a normal time?
If you did I hope that you made a killing.
I thought about it for all of a nano second. Then I looked around and decided that there was nothing that I needed and even less that I wanted.

There are cards and wrapping paper from 2 years ago and decorations from the same time, all bought on December 27th, still in their packaging.

The SO went a bit doolally with the twinkly lights this year (I have some in the kitchen and they will stay up) so none of those needed.
We make a few new tree decs every year and sometimes buy one, I spotted a glittery letter F this year that hangs front and centre of the tree.

My bunting did not see the light of day  but I do have a baby of a plan for some crochet Robins for next year to jazz it up a bit.

Francesca has gone back to Kent, she has to be at work on the 2nd and travelling on the 1st is a big fat NO NO. All her knitted and crocheted gifts are with her and there is a small heap of things to be posted off next week. She could have taken them in normal times but ongoing works mean that she has to train, bus and then train again. A large case would just be hard work for her. and make a difficult journey worse.

As for me, well I am experimenting with my new spices, W was a guinea pig last night.

I am off to the kitchen now, there are veg that will be prepped and put into various spice and oil marinades and then frozen. peelings will be washed and cooked for stock. We will be mainly meat and fish free for January, I want to experiment with my store of pulses and grains.

                         TTFN                                         Pam

PS. Did I tell you that the SO bought me a set of Knit Pro interchangeable circular needles, for slippery yarns they are my favourite. Now I have a complete set rather than a random assortment.
There may be a delivery of yarn arriving soon as well.

He knows the way to my heart.

                                                Pam


Friday 28 December 2018

Back to normal

whatever that may be.
All went smoothly, nothing was burnt/under cooked/lumpy etc.
Nobody ate too much/remained hungry/sulked/lost their temper.

Pressies were fantastic and well received.
I have a fairly comprehensive Indian spice kit and The Spice Tree book. January will be the month of play. (I have already started)

We had cold meats last night with a side dish of hot sweet potatoes with tomato and spinach, it was amazing. Quite fiery so some S O made coleslaw was a welcome addition to the meal.

There will be some more happening today, I am looking forward to working my way through the spice pack, many of the contents are completely new to me.
I have put an order in to top up some of my original kit and added a couple of spices that caught my eye when skimming through the book.

I also received an Indian air tight spice box and that now contains my most used seeds. I used all my Nigella seeds last night so some of those will be on their way soon.
I may well buy myself another for the most used ground spices, it is so good to remove 1 lid and have an array of spices at your fingertips, rather than a collection of jars and pots cluttering the worktop.

It is stupid o'clock, again, and I am wide wake. I think hope that once the New Year has rolled around my sleep pattern will sort itself out.
I am beginning to feel a bit bleary eyed so may slide back into bed and see if I can drop off for a couple of hours.

                                 TTFN                          Pam

Monday 24 December 2018

Nearly there.

Francesca landed safely and her drive here was trouble free, although the weather was not kind.
We took her hire car back to Swansea this morning, that journey was rife with trouble. Both our sat navs decided to lead us up the garden path and told us repeatedly that we had to drive the wrong way along a one way road. In the end we ignored them by turning right when told left and vice versa.

We had an easy drive back and the car will not move now till I take her to the station for her train back.

The road has been awash with traffic for most of the day but it is virtually deserted now. Just the odd car trailing away or home, laden with family, and proceeding quite sedately.

Rufus and Ben have finally stopped playing and are having a post walk rest. Ben has ignored their shenanigans for the most part, he has seen and done it all and is happy to be a spectator...with his eyes shut.

I wish you all a restful evening, a smooth and Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

Nadolig Llawen

blwyddyn Newydd Dda.


                               TTFN                                 Pam

Sunday 23 December 2018

All Done, Feet Up.

All is ready, the list has been checked off, Rufus is here for his holibob. Ben is snoring in his corner, Herbie is trying to get Rufus to play. Rufus is all played out and is next to me on the sofa.

The last few days have been a bit busy, finishing lots of things, moving some bits around and all the general faffing that has to be done.

We have watched a few movies, Flight of the Navigator, The Witches of Eastwick and one of the many versions of Peter Pan to name a few.

Nothing too challenging and nothing gory or psychotic, wrong time of year for all that.

My faithful 20ish  year old camera has finally bit the dust, I will not rush out to replace it till after the festivities. The SO can record memorable moments with his phone.

After a hit and miss year with the lap top I have a sneaky suspicion that it also will need replacing.

I hope that you are all set for the off and have no last minute panic attacks.

I saw that Lidl had their Christmas veg packs reduced to 19p, no shortage of sprouts in this house.

Our pudding will be a chocolate torte with extra thick cream and satsuma sauce, almost a deconstructed Jaffa cake. I try to make a version of it every year, this was inspired by a Jamie Oliver program that I caught  bit of. I will be using my own recipe for the torte as his was a bit too loaded with butter for my taste.

There is a gammon to be cooked, probably with a bottle of "fat" coke in the slow cooker. An old Nigella recipe that has lost nothing over the years, I add a couple of Cinnamon sticks, a few Allspice berries and a couple of Star Anise to the mix for an extra layer of flavour.

Now I am ready for some soup for lunch and then a little knitting, those sticky socks are part way through the Fleegle heel increases.
I will be laying them aside tomorrow evening for my Christmas Eve cast on.

I had a winding up session yesterday, all my sock scraps have been turned into 5 magic knot balls and 4 skeins have been converted to 50 gram balls. I am set for some relaxing vanilla sock knitting and some telly watching. I may well get a start on some gifts for next year.

Francesca is flying from Edinburgh and then driving here, I hope that her journey is straight forward.

I also hope that the people who caused all the hassle by flying a drone in designated airspace are caught, convicted and all their assets are seized to help to offset the costs. The costs that will inevitably be passed on to travellers.

We have a drone flyer in the village, he has a camera attached and watches on his lap top. One or two people have threatened to break up said drone and insert it somewhere tender.
Nuff said.
                            TTFN                                Pam

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Rain, sun and rain again

It has been a mixed bag today, on our first walk we got caught in a downpour.
On the second we sweltered in bright sunshine.
The third was postponed till the monsoon slowed down to merely pouring.
Ben doesn't care.
Rufus is blase.
Herbie is a big girls blouse.
Not about the rain.
It is all about the coat. 
He hates wearing it. 
He wriggles like a bag of snakes while I wrestle him into it. 
I end up in a hot sweaty mess.
He sulks.
Big time.

The quilt is done and off to its new home.




Here are a few of the fabrics that I used. Some of these are the last scraps of favourite fabrics and some came from my friend in those massive scrap bags.

Last night Herbie suddenly leapt off his bed and landed here.


He sat like this for what seemed like ages.


Then he had a closer look at whatever had caught his eye.

I have no idea what it was, there has been nothing new put on here since the decorations were put up.
He hasn't given it a second glance today. 

The sewing room has been tidied away, machine cleaned, new needle put in, new bobbins wound. All ready for a fresh project (or a different WIP) in the new year.

There are 2 pairs of socks on the go, those sticky ones and a pair for L.
The WIPs will remain in their respective bags till I feel the need to get them out.
There will be  Christmas Eve cast on, it was going to be socks, then a garment, now I am thinking of blankets. 
I do not need another blanket, I have not got the space to store one.
Perhaps I will find a new idea.
I could try a crochet garment, I have never tried one before. I failed on my make 9 for this year. Too many rabbit holes, all filled with socks. That list has gone with the wind. This year there will just be a list of completed items, much simpler.

I made a batch of mincemeat today using a selection of dried fruits, including some Mango, no added sugar but some ginger wine at the end. I used vegetable suet as many of my friends are not meat eaters.
2 jars will be delivered tomorrow, weather permitting.

Time to help with the washing up before some more knitting and a little telly.


                         TTFN                                   Pam



Tuesday 18 December 2018

Wet and Windy

I name this day, Terrific Tuesday. The rain is lashing down, the wind is driving all in its path, you know what that means.
Guilt Free Crafting.
In this case it is sewing, to be precise it is quilting, well it will be once the layers are pin basted together.



The glimpse of the top fabric is the backing, the bottom band is only in the backing, all the others are in the front. They have been part of the stash for some time now and almost every last scrap is in this quilt. Cue happy dance, a complete quilt from stash.
The binding is my go to cream with a tiny black polka dot, I bought metres of this a while ago from the Fabric Guild for next to nothing. 

Today is a bittersweet date for me, my sons birthday. I am glad to be busy sewing on something that I am loving. I do not mope about the place sobbing and tearing my hair, that is just not me. But it still hurts and undoubtedly always will.

Ben took one look at the weather and decided that the garden was as far as he was going to venture today. Herbie was very eager to get out there and burn off some energy so we wrapped up and went. We were not out for long, it is not really cold, my waterproof coat and boots did their job well. The wind did for me, at time the gusts lifted me onto my tip toes and my coat must have made me look like a schooner with the wind in its sails. Given the narrow pavements and the amount of traffic I felt that it was quite risky to go far, I really do not want tyre marks on any part of me.

The walk with Rufus is on hold, if the weather improves we will do it later but I am not holding much hope.

The scrappy sock have had a little work, I have put in the waste yarn to mark the afterthought heel. They will come out again this evening.

I have no plans for dinner as yet, possibly cauliflower and pasta in a sauce. Maybe a cauliflower and chickpea curry, it will be something quick and easy.

Now, there is work play to be enjoyed.

                          TTFN                                     Pam

Monday 17 December 2018

Bear chewing a wasp.

Or a cross between a Scottish Wild Cat and a Tasmanian Devil.

That is how I felt this morning. I woke late, after broken sleep (more broken than sleep), my head was stuffed with wet cotton wool, my nose was streaming and my throat was on fire. 
The Lurgy, was my first thought, second and third thoughts are not for this place!

Anyway,there were things to do so out of bed I lurched and half crawled to the bathroom. 
Fast forward a little, clean clothes on a clean body, a lovely cuppa and a walk with Ben and Herbie and I began to resemble life as we know it.

A while later and another walk with Ben, Herbie and Rufus and another cuppa. Life was almost back on track.
A hot blackcurrant drink and pop a couple of paracetamols, a little sit down and mmmm, not so bad at all now.
Head still a bit stuffed up but nose at a standstill and throat calmer.
I might live after all.
I had planned a trip out.
Not wise, if this is a bug I do  not want to share.
It may be good to share, but not any bugs specially at this late stage in the seasonal preparations.

What to do?
I know, I will get The List of Things To Do out and bring some of it forward.
Bathroom fully blitzed....everything out including the tumble dryer, every surface cleaned (I hate exposed pipes) and all put back to rights.

What now?
The Big Fridge Sort Out.
Empty and remove shelves. Clean everything that stands still (including the outside....How many magnets???) replace it all. Wait a minute what is the date on that bottle yeukk! throw it out NOW.
Top up shopping list as I go. Don't forget the Cornichons  

The Small Fridge Sort Out....can wait until after lunch, steamed veg with some Balsamic Vinegar, and a cuppa.

That is my day so far. I feel virtuous if not fully better. There will be some knitting later on socks for L. I may be watching some of the Strictly Finals dances again, once is not enough they were so good. Roll on the Christmas special.

A load of washing has been done and there are enough woolly things to merit a little hand washing session, later, much later.

The earlier bright sky has resumed its grey mantle and I imagine that rain is imminent. Those long hot weeks are but a dim and distant memory now.

                              TTFN                                  Pam.

Sunday 16 December 2018

Lazing on a Sunday afternoon.

No work today, except for cooking and washing up of course.
Dog walking is not work, just pure and undiluted pleasure. Mmmm not when icy trickles of rain find the gap at the back of your neck though.

There was quite a bit of this.



Stretchy fabric with lots of knots makes a great toy.

Followed by even more of this.




It requires lots of concentration.

There was plenty of this, with some repeat watching of Strictly.


A pair for L who loves her quilt.

After all that play there was only one thing left to do.


Find a cosy corner, bag a squishy cushion, a couple of blankies and snuggle down for a cwtch.

                                     TTFN                       Pam

Saturday 15 December 2018

WOOOoooooosssshhhhhhhh.



Was it a bird? was it a Plane? It certainly wan't Superman or woman. No it was Friday blasting by in a tearing hurry to get to bed!
I did achieve everything on my to do list, I even managed to read a few chapters.
I found the time to finish the Advent socks. First I was listening to Chris Evans on the radio and he had the Stictly peeps with him. Then I  watched a bit of breakfast telly and Ben Miller was talking about his new book. Now Ben was the Detective Inspector in the first series of Death in Paradise, are you with me, Danny from Strictly was in that,  soooo I felt that Strictly knitting was in order.
I had been up since stoopid o'clock, bread was cooking, washing was done AND tumbled, tidying had happened and I had earned a sit down.
The only job left was vacuuming and it was too early for that.

Then with some dog walking and a bit of lunch it suddenly became 7 and there was no dinner in sight 
Thank Crunchy there was soup and fresh bread, and a Mary Berry Gingerbread tray bake just at the right degree of stickiness.
It was....lipsmackingthirstinducingfingerlickinggood a cuppa was the perfect companion.

Cue some telly and the Graham Norton show with Dame Darcy!!! more strictly knitting and the socks were done. (another pair was duly cast on)


There is a garter stitch afterthought heel, a first for me, and I used a new cast on and bind off. Judy's cast on and Jenny's bind off.


Fast forward to this morning, and it was a game of Tetris in the car boot. stacks of gifts to go to Cardigan and both dogs and all their paraphernalia had to go in. (No the dogs were not in the boot, harnessed up on the back seat they slept both ways)
It went quite well and we were off by 9:10, almost crack of dawn as far as the SO is concerned.
The drive was uneventful but there was evidence of land slips and many trees down. The drive home was not so good, horizontal rain and lowering skies, but like all things it passed.
The noise reached crescendo level when the playing cards came out, Snap and other shouty games were the order of the day, much fun was had by all. Many croaky throats emerged on the other side. My head started to throb, I am so out of sync with the noise.

A quiet cup of tea and a cool walk with the dogs have soothed my aching brow and I am poised ready for Strictly The Final. Dinner will be a very lazy meal of Cumberland sausage, onions, tomatoes and some seeded rolls.

I see that Tesco have brought the 29 p packs of veg out, 5 days before Lidl launch theirs. They also have Legs of Lamb half price, I will have to shuffle the freezer contents to make room for a couple.

Now I am off to the kitchen, if you hear crying it will be me with the onions.
 

                                                      TTFN                  Pam



Thursday 13 December 2018

Ifits and shopping

I have finished the first part of quilting, just enough to hold the front to the wadding. I find that with a big quilt it makes it far easier to control when the first 2 layers are bonded and I did not want to use spray glue this time.

Now for the backing, I have to cut and join fabric as the quilt measures 84" x 100", I quilt in inches, I cannot see centimetre in my minds eye.

As stitching lengths of fabric together can be mind numbing boring I am adding a patchwork strip, just 11" wide down the length of the quilt. It will be set to one side as central would be too regimented for me.

I had a delve into the drawer that hold orphan blocks and left over bits of sewing. Bingo, I found some strip sets from a long finished and gifted quilt. They were not wide enough but a 3 1/2" strip added has done the job. Now I have to trim and join these together before cutting my main fabric.

I could have bought some extra wide backing fabric, I could have bought a large sheet. I choose to shop from stash as this is another scrappy quilt top AND I have vowed to sew and knit through the stash before having a shopping spree.

                  Roll on that day, I love shopping for fabric. Don't tell anyone though.

I had no colour palette in mind it was a case of If its there I will make it work. It was there, and some of the work was done (win win) and I am happy with that.

The binding is no problem, I made loads extra for L's quilt and have plenty of that fabric if I need more.

In fact the only fly in the ointment is the fact that I have to wind bobbins before doing any more sewing. I wind a dozen at a time and the last one is in the machine.
 I did change the needle and and do a quick clean round the race before starting BUT I could do with giving it a deep clean. Take it to bits as far as possible and get the vacuum out, I am certain that there are some serious dust bunnies in there. I don't mind that at all, I like to keep the machine clean, not only does it make me happy but it runs better and protects my investment.
I do sometimes consider getting an upgrade but there is no driving need, it does everything (and much more) that I need.

I am shopping later, there is nothing that I am desperate for but Thursday is a fairly quiet day and I can be out and back in a very short time.

Liver and Bacon for dinner tonight with onion gravy and probably some mushrooms in there as well. Lots of steamed veg to use up the odds and sods will make the meal for me.

Now it is time to get ready for walking Rufus and Ben, it is their social time of the day.

                    TTFN                                          Pam

Wednesday 12 December 2018

The Itch to Stitch.

Wednesday morning, once you get to tea time the week is a downhill slide to the weekend. When I worked a full night shift I loved the fact that I went to work on Wednesday, came home on Thursday and could almost touch the weekend.
Now that I no longer do any paid work I strive to keep the weekend a little special.

I try not to have any housework linger from Friday, laundry does't count as the machine does that. If the iron goes on I am sewing and if the vacuum cleaner comes out it to remove lint and threads from the sewing room. It stops them from walking all over the house.

I got my sewing all done, and the room tidied, and am now itching to get stitching. Nothing in particular, just anything. Sooooo I will be pulling out my last piece of wadding and, fingers crossed, if it is large enough I will be layering another quilt later. If not then I will work on some strip blocks that need another few pieces each.

I did do some knitting on the Advent socks last night. Then this morning I tinked it all back, Never Ever Knit When Tired, it is a simple 4 row pattern. In a zombie like state I knit row 1 on the front, row 2 on the back and so on. Luckily I had only done a pattern repeat and on 1 sock. It still niggled though. To make me feel better I knit 3 full repeats this morning while drinking tea and catching up with Nordic Stitches Vlogmas. Lovely.

Here is this years Christmas fabric, I have made jogging bottoms (called slobbers in this house, as those who wear them just slob around on the sofa.) for the SO and Francesca. I prefer to wear a skirt or dress, I used the Hollyburn pattern which is my favourite skirt pattern by far.


A close up of part of the print.


No, there are no English words on it but it is so bright and happy,
AND
it was £2.20 a metre from The Fabric Guild, I wish that I  had bought more as it is great to sew with and I would have made a dress as well.
I have taken that thought on board and will keep it in mind when I look at buying next years fabric.

I nearly forgot to tell you that I strained and bottled the sloe gin and sloe brandy. 
I have more sloes in the freezer and will be starting next years as soon as possible. I am considering using some of my blackberries to make blackberry gin for next year as well. 

After straining I tipped the sloes into the slow cooker (is that a pun I see before me?) and added the water that I rinsed the soaking bottles out with .Many hours later I pushed the sloes through a fine sieve, discarding all the detritus, and left it to cool overnight. This morning I measured my booty, a pint and a bit, into a pan. Poured in 1 lb of granulated sugar and boiled it up, it reached setting point fast and I have 2 jars and a tester of something that is not quite a puree but thicker than jelly.

It is both sweet and tart at the same time and still has a little of the 
"draw your bum up to your elbows" quality about it (Granny again).
I am hoping that it will perform like a souped up redcurrant jelly in various recipes, ie Cumberland sauce to go with my baked gammon.
Time will tell.

And on that cheek clenching note I am off to get the dogs out, the lazy pair are snuggled up on the sofa SNORING.

                           TTFN                               Pam
                                  






Tuesday 11 December 2018

Herbie the Hunter

Herbie has decided that the pom pom penguins are fair game, he has had 2 off the tree. 
He does not eat them, just steals them and scuttles off to one of the beds. En route he manages to lose an eye and/or the nose, he does not eat those either, thank goodness. He tries to do this when we are in the room. Never mind being a right little Herbert he is morphing into Dennis the Menace or Just William.

Now when we go out, or into another room, he has to come with us. I think it is just a step too far having all the desirable stuff  so close. Normally he if fine to be left, he will get on the sofa and sleep. even being left in the car is no problem, it just becomes another snooze opportunity.

He has been reprimanded and is on the sofa snuggled up to Ben.

Apart from that it has been an ordinary day, a pair of joggers has been made in this years Christmas fabric, my skirt has been made from the same fabric. I used the Hollyburn pattern, it is a firm favourite.

A few more rounds on the sticky socks but, once again, nothing done with the Advent socks.

No more gifts have been wrapped, the day has just slipped away from us.

I have watched a few Vlogmas episodes on You Tube and plan on catching a few more later.

Dinner tonight is a crustless quiche and is all  but ready to  be stuck in the oven.
I am so hungry that,in my Grans words "I could eat a scabby horse between 2 bakers carts."
I am also in danger of dropping off  to sleep mid bite. I do not know why I am so sleepy, perhaps it is chocolate deficiency.

No I am in dire need of a cuppa, I couldn't spit a sixpence if my life depended upon it.

                                 TTFN                                            Pam                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        




Monday 10 December 2018

Busy bee sort of a day.

It has been perpetual motion today, I started with quite a long walk with Ben and Herbie. It was dry and almost warm so Ben made the most of it.

Then it was the normal jobs along with finishing the quilt.


All bound and rolled, I had to fold for packing though.




I rounded all the corners, as is my norm now, saved all that folding and faffing.

We went into Ammanford, I needed some light bulbs and a huge postal envelope among other things.

Once home it was time for some soup, today's batch was chicken and veg. made first thing and popped into the slow cooker.

Ben and Herbie wanted another walk and then it was clear the decks and action stations.


Francesca's bed is fairly well stacked with wrapped and labelled gifts.

There are more to do tomorrow as we ran out of steam and time.

It is confession time now, I wrapped nothing but the quilt.
The SO did the lot, but, I did all the leg work. I was up and down the stairs like a mad woman. 
Oh and I did play with ribbons and bows, the SO was paper and sellotape.

Most years I use beads and lace, broken jewellery from the charity shops and anything that catches my eye. This year it has been all about the making, I have knitted, crocheted and stitched my way through a big chunk of the stash, and enjoyed every minute of it.

I am brimming with ideas for next year and the gifts, mostly hand made will be jazzed up. I will be collecting oddities through the year. I have always relished the hunt for my bling.

I have watched Kirstie and her Christmas crafting, but am not inspired to make a gingerbread house. In this house it would be eaten before the construction got underway.

I have knitted a few rounds on the sticky socks but the advent sock has laid untouched but not forgotten. It will get some love at some point.

I have  cut out a pair of jogging bottoms for the SO and a skirt for me in this years Christmas fabric. Fran has a pair of the joggers made and wrapped. This has become a tradition, a new one will start this year. 
A Christmas Eve basket, full of little nibbles for the peckish, a bottle of fizz for the thirsty, new socks for toasty toes and so on. Francesca has a pair of joggers (brushed cotton Christmas fabric) a new pair of socks and a Christmas jumper. There is also a Christmas mug, hot chocolate drink mix and marshmallows. She has a day of gift wrapping after taking her hire car into Swansea first thing in the morning. There will be a bath bomb and some pamper bits for her after all the wrapping is done.

I am going to finish watching Escape the the Chateau and then get Herbie out for his last walk.


                                  TTFN                                        Pam






Sunday 9 December 2018

Nearly had an accident.

It was all the SO's fault, it was getting on for 12:15 yesterday, I was feeling the rumblies in the tumbly. All that walking, oh by the way, it is a good job we had the long walk early as it hammered down later.

Anyhow, I asked the SO if he wanted any food, he declined, but said he would love another coffee and held his mug out.
I asked him what his last slave died of, and quick as a light he replied "disobedience". I did the dying fly on the sofa, real tears and aching ribs and almost an accident!

I had a banana rollup, a slice of bread (this time the raisin bread) wrapped round a softish banana. OH Yum.

He had a coffee, and had to fend for himself till dinner time, which was the soup with some onion, cheese and olive scones. A long time favourite recipe, adapted from one in a Mary Berry book.

The second Advent sock is cast on, I knitted through Strictly and carried on while we chatted about the show. It is still not obvious who will make it to the final, it all depends on the public vote. I have my hopes pinned on Kevin and Stacey, to me they just have that little bit of sparkle when they dance.

The SO has been busy with the pom pom makers, I have a growing colony of little cuties. He now wants to try to make minions.



Francesca's room has been blinged up and there are some cuties in there as well.


I have tried to crop this 3 times and failed. so this is the large option.



A little more of the blinged up room.

I have a bit of a scratchy throat this morning, possibly from the wet air that I breathed in while walking yesterday. I expect to find gills growing any day now.

There has been bright sun, mist hanging in the air and driving rain playing on loop this morning. The dogs did not mind though and I had my long waterproof coat and wellies so I did not mind either.

Now I have a few things to do, nothing mega just enough to get me off the sofa and moving about.

                             TTFN                             Pam









Saturday 8 December 2018

Stress versus calm.

Yesterday evening I was putting myself into a stressy state. All about my quilt wips, I was concerned that I had not got the exact fabric to bind L,s quilt and that there was one top waiting to be layered and 2 more (at least) waiting for the blocks to be joined and/or finished.

Then I paused, breathed, and focused my mind on Hygge, within seconds I felt my heart rate drop and my tense shoulders relax.

I have some fabric, cream with a tiny black polka dot, that I bought ages ago specifically for binding. I will use that.
The wips have no time schedule, they can wait till I feel ready to work on them again.

I can make the binding and get it applied today, tomorrow the quilt can be washed and tumbled and then packed and posted off  on Monday.

I still need to make a trip to Llandeilo but not today, I will plan to do it next week and we will take the dogs with us. They will like to have lots of new smells to linger over and new places to explore.

After my hiccup in the evening I slept like a bump on a log and woke ready to hit the ground running.

My first Advent sock is finished, all bar the afterthought heel.


It is a fairly short sock, my feet are never cold and long socks make me very hot.


I have worked some more on those "sticky" socks. They will need a soak in hair conditioner to soften them up a bit.




We had a yearning for some raisin and cinnamon bread, so a loaf went into the bread machine. It is sooo good, there are plenty of raisins in there, just not in the first slice. 
A sign of my love for the SO, he had the crust!

When my son was a toddler my young brothers used to spend most of their school holidays with us. Michael loved having his uncles there and it helped my Mum out. They all loved the crusts off a new loaf and I often baked bread and then cut all the crusts off. The middles would become toast or bread and butter pudding. Needless to say I very rarely got a crust in those days either.

After a very murky start to the day yesterday turned out dry, with blue skies but still very cold and windy. Today is damp but the wind has dropped considerably. Herbie has had a decent walk, he will still have his little walk with Rufus, but I wanted to get a good one in while the weather permitted.

I made a slow cooker batch of veg stock overnight and this morning it has become soup. I used a big pack of ready chopped veg from Tesco, rtc 25p, and some red lentils. It is cooled and in the fridge ready for lunch. The cottage pie was delicious last night and I made a pear crisp for pudding, it makes a change from crumble, with a good shake of mixed spice in the topping. 

Tonight is a mystery so far, it could be a case of open the freezer and have a lucky dip.

There is more controversy over Strictly, and some one is discussing it on the telly right now.
It is almost as bad as Brexit.

Now 'tis time for tea.

                             TTFN                                Pam



Friday 7 December 2018

Ambush situation

Herbie has found the ideal spot to lie in wait for Father Christmas, it took a great deal of planning, some serious wriggling and a lot of  sneakyness to get to the sweet spot.
Then even more work to get him out.
There is now a barrier.
Hopefully it is impregnable.


Look at that face, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.

My shopping trip was not a total failure, but there is still no Angel. I am thinking of a charity shop trawl for a Barbie doll to bling up myself.
I see that Lidl are bringing back their 29p bags of veg, I will be buying some of those.
Today should be awful, strong wind and driving rain. The first walk was not too bad although a recycling bin lid did go bowling down the road. There was far too much traffic to try to get it to the side.

Dinner last night was a very lazy scrambled eggs on toast, a dollop of brown sauce and it went down well. Tonight it will be cottage pie with a root veg topping.

I have the last bit of quilting to do on L's quilt and then will be making and applying the binding. That can then go off on Monday.
Tomorrow,weather permitting, I am off to Llandeilo. I need wadding for 2 more quilts.

There is one last Christmas decoration to go up, that is the pom pom garland in Fran's room, the SO has been absolutely heroic and completed the house with no help whatsoever from me.

Rufus and Herbie enjoyed their walk, it was calm and steady. I did expect some bouncing but their behaviour was exemplary.

On that note I am off to get a cuppa and ready myself for today's walk.

                         TTFN                                  Pam

Thursday 6 December 2018

Slowly, slowly catchee monkey

That is how I am progressing through the month, taking one day at a time and trying hard not to rush.

We had a very wet day yesterday, the rain slowly retracted into a wet mist so Herbie had his long walk in the dark around 8:30. He cared not a jot about the time, he was just so happy to be outside.

I took the opportunity to pull out the largest sewing wip and am happy to show it now.


As you can see I have a cuppa on the go. It is quilting law, and if it isn't it should be.

This is part quilted and will be finished today and bound tomorrow. It will be going off to London for one of Francesca's long time friends. She has had a bit of a bumpy year and I wanted to send her a big hug.

Then there is the tree, a quick shot before the day turns busy.


I will try for a better shot another day, when I have the Angel. Always supposing that I can find one.

I am braving the elements and the crowds to do a shop later, I will be doing a trawl round Pontardawe picking up some inspiration along with a few bits and pieces.

The big items, ie the joint of rib of beef, the ham and pork are all ordered to be collected on the 22nd at 8;30 am. I hope that I will miss the worst of the crowds.
That sounds like a great deal of meat, it will be for the whole week and (fingers crossed) some leftovers to freeze.

Then with any luck and a fair wind I will not see another shop for a week.

Now I need to move as it is a big day today. Rufus has been cleared by the vet to resume his walks with Herbie, they just have to be short and steady. I am not sure who will be the happiest out of the three of us.

                          TTFN                             Pam




Wednesday 5 December 2018

5 days into Advent

The time is flying by, I am so happy that we are well in front of all the preparations. As so many bloggers say, it falls on the same dates every year so there should be no need for panic and running round like a headless chicken.

The most relevant word there is should. easier said than done, especially if you have children and/or animals. Someone is bound to catch a nasty bug/break a limb/decide to hate the rest of the family and pets will get ill/escape/chew something vital up.
That is without the household appliances that wait until 3 days before Christmas before breaking down.

Having said all that we all survive to do it all over again and again..
Thank goodness, just imagine what would happen to the economy if just a quarter of us decided to call time and have a slap up holiday in the sun instead.

Anyhoo, enough of that drivel. The SO has been busy with lights and tinsel. The mantle is looking good,




I need to get some more baubles along the front, hopefully later today.


The Advent socks have not seen much action so far. This yarn is Candy Cane from Little French Meadow, I bought it at the beginning of the year. I love how the white is almost creating a wreath effect.


The stocking stitch on the sole looks completely different.

This yarn should have been for the new pattern from Ellie of Craft House Magic but my #*%$^y printer is having a hissy fit. It has decided that it does not like the new cartridges and has more lights flashing than all the Christmas trees in the village. I have put it in the naughty corner till the new year.

AND the ball winder threw in the towel and died on me. I have put that in the recycling. That can also wait until the new year, if I run out (fat chance) of caked up yarn I can hand wind. I will get another but a really nice wood one, pretty please there will be one in a sale somewhere.

Now it is so time for tea, my throat is as dry as chaff.

I hope that you are all on track and all is calm.

                      TTFN                                         Pam